For my Aunt Marie

Green leaves cradle
the fallen and finished –
spent, diminished –

(Nature cradles
broken things)

yellow small and white
bloom wild, unburdened –
fierce, unplanted –

(Sown by Nature’s careful hand)

her hard shell cracks wide
open and she sings

(Nature cradles
broken things)

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*     *     *

Dear Aunt Ree,

There’s no good time to die, is there? You suffered; you persevered; you raised two good daughters who have gone on to raise their own good children. I was always secretly impressed that you married and divorced the same man, twice. That took hella courage. I like to think of the softness in your eyes sometimes, made more special because you normally wore your armor. I like to think of you laughing, and singing. (I was always secretly impressed that you said negative and honest things that not everyone would say.) I like to think that you’re bowling in heaven with a body made new and whole, and maybe you and Uncle Buddy will go fishing, and you will never again struggle to breathe. I like to think of you home, a treasured and cherished child of God. (I like to think that heaven is far greater and stranger than I can imagine, and doesn’t involve bowling or fishing.)

You were a good sister, and daughter, and mother, and aunt, and friend. The world is a smaller place without you.

Love, ~Jen

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Photos from the DR, with sincerest thanks to JC and NC for the gift of this journey.


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